4 Things You Need To Know About The Australian Citizenship Changes
The recent citizenship changes are set to impact permanent residents as well as those thinking about Australia as a potential destination for future citizenship. To keep things simple we have broken up the recent developments into 4 key changes that you need to be aware of.
1) You must be able to demonstrate cultural integration
This requirement stems from an increasing pressure on the government to help foster a united and tolerant culture in which the values of the Australian way of life are shared by all its inhabitants. Suitable examples of integration include regular tax contributions to help grow the economy, and a demonstrated commitment to education, work, or organised voluntary activities in the local community. At all times your examples will be assessed in terms of how consistent they are with “Australian values”.
2) You must have been a permanent resident for 4 years
The requirement for length of permanent residency was formally only 1 year. By increasing this fourfold the government is looking to make the pathway to citizenship, one that works for those who have a genuine commitment to making a long-term positive contribution to the country.
3) The citizenship test will be altered to directly assess your views on society
Perhaps the most striking changes are those being made to the citizenship test. To create a process that promotes Australian values and ideas of citizenship throughout, it has been deemed necessary to assess your views on a wide range of socio-economic topics. These will include but are not limited to: your view of democracy and social freedom, the principles of equality and integration that are the bedrock of Australian culture, and aspects of everyday life that the Australian people take pride in.
4) There are increased English language proficiency requirements
The final significant change in the route to citizenship will be an increase in the level of English language proficiency required. This will cover both spoken and written English, and is designed to promote greater integration into Australian culture. See IELTS
It is important to note that the changes outlined briefly above are still being discussed in the Australian Parliament. The Government hopes all changes will be legally in place by late 2017 and recognises the need for a quick and efficient passage into law.
There are also plans for all changes to be retroactive, with the Government announcing that all applications received on or after 19 April 2017 will be subject to the above changes. Whilst this is the intention of the Government, it is however ultimately subject to approval by the Australian Parliament.
As we currently understand the situation, all citizenship applications that are submitted after the Government announcement are to be held in waiting, and will not be sent for processing and approval until the matter has passed through parliament. We also understand that plans are being put in place to maintain the special relationship with New Zealand by making a number of New Zealanders currently residing in Australia exempt from the proposed changes.
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